Fantasy Points Targets: Quarterbacks

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Fantasy Points Targets: Quarterbacks

It’s hard to win in fantasy football without drafting the right players. Fortunately, there are a lot of “right players,” and they’re available at various stages of a typical draft. It’s important to go into a draft with a list of players you want, and the points at which they might be available.

Our job at Fantasy Points is to help you with that.

Our Fantasy Points Targets series will highlight players we particularly like at their current ADPs (Average Draft Position). Those players might have legitimate league-winning upside, a rock-solid floor to help the foundation of your team, or might simply present a great value and are being overlooked. It could be a combination of factors.

For these articles, we are using all 12-team ADP over the last month from our friends at the NFFC. We believe high-stakes ADP to be the most important to giving advice, as the sharpest players in the world have been drafting teams for months and have set the market. Given the ADP we are using, the basis for these articles is PPR scoring.

As always, if you want detailed information about all the players listed here — and more — check out our 2020 Fantasy Points Player Profiles.

Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends Player to Avoid

Fantasy Points Targets: Quarterbacks

Rounds 1-4

This is the disclaimer we feel obligated to give — we do not typically recommend drafting a quarterback in the first handful of rounds in a one-QB format. Yes, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes will almost certainly score you a lot of points. There are absolutely roster builds including them that will win fantasy championships. But the evidence against drafting a QB early in fantasy football has been mounting for years to the point where it’s an accepted fact that it’s a suboptimal strategy. Remember, two years ago, Mahomes was available in the double-digit rounds. So was Jackson in 2019. And passing on the early-round guys opens up room to add talent at the RB and WR positions, where starter-worthy players aren’t available as late as they are at QB.

Rounds 5-6

TARGET

Dak Prescott (Dal, 63 ADP) — This is still a bit early for a QB for many players’ tastes, but if you’re not thrilled about the other options on the board, it’s hard to argue against Prescott. He’s durable — never missed a game — and is supported by perhaps the most gifted offense in the entire league, following the addition of rookie WR CeeDee Lamb to a group that already included Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, TE Blake Jarwin, and RB Ezekiel Elliott. Last year’s QB3 also could run more in the red zone, an area where former coach Jason Garrett terribly underutilized Prescott. The pieces are in place here for Prescott to put together an MVP-style campaign, and to make the Cowboys look foolish for not extending him. Remember, he’s playing for a contract.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Deshaun Watson (Hou, 75 ADP) — Watson is a full round cheaper than Dak Prescott, which is pretty appealing given he’s finished as the QB2 overall or better in two of his last three seasons. Of course, the loss of DeAndre Hopkins is crucial, which is driving his price down. But if Watson’s receiving corps of Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, and Randall Cobb can stay healthy — a massive “if” — it will be one of the fastest groups in the entire NFL. Big plays are the name of Watson’s game, and the speed of this receiving corps could open up lanes for Watson to run underneath the coverage. Perhaps sneakily, Watson has averaged at least 5.3 FPG with rushing alone the last three seasons, the only QB to do so. This is the most affordable he’s been since his rookie season, with a late 6th-round ADP.

Rounds 7-9

TARGET

Carson Wentz (Phi, 101 ADP) — We’ll never apologize for backing Wentz. He has his flaws, but what he did in 2019 — throwing for over 4000 yards without a single WR reaching even 500 — is nothing short of remarkable. And things would have been a lot better had DeSean Jackson played more than basically one game. When it comes to Wentz, you have to live with the occasional boneheaded plays and fumbles because of his spectacular playmaking. The good news for Wentz is the Eagles actually tried to help him this off-season, adding explosiveness to his receiving corps with three speedy draft picks (including first-round WR Jalen Reagor). At the bare minimum, the added speed will open things underneath for Wentz’s elite TE pair and RB Miles Sanders. There’s 30-plus TD potential here, which is why Wentz is arguably our favorite QB target on the entire board this year. We also like the volatile Josh Allen and the steady Matt Ryan in this range. Wentz’s style kind of bridges the gap between those two guys.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Josh Allen (Buf, 98 ADP) — What are you looking for from your fantasy QB? If it’s all upside with the potential for it to blow up in your face, then Allen is the guy. In terms of the total package — running, throwing power, competitiveness — Allen might be the most explosive player at his position in the NFL. Over the last two years, Allen’s 40.8 rushing yards per start is behind only Lamar Jackson (81.6, so exactly half) at the QB position. He’s feasted on bad defenses in his career. And the Bills improved his receiving group by trading for Stefon Diggs and drafting two youngsters. Of course, Allen may be the least-accurate starting QB in the league. He struggled terribly on deep balls last year despite his superior arm strength, and our Scott Barrett rated Allen’s schedule as the hardest in the league for QBs this season. Given he’s just an 8th-round pick by ADP, we’re willing to assume that risk for his massive upside (including rushing TDs — 17 in two seasons), but more cautious players may want to avoid Allen or secure a higher-level QB2 behind him.

Matt Ryan (Atl, 90 ADP) — Ryan is the most expensive of the QBs we’re targeting in this range, but also the “safest.” With the Falcons not likely to have a great defense this season, we have Ryan projected to lead the NFL in pass attempts. That’s always good for fantasy. And he has a great — if top-heavy — receiving group to do it with (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst). We’re skeptical the Todd Gurley-led run game will be even an average one. Ryan doesn’t offer the explosive upside of Josh Allen, nor the playmaking ability of Carson Wentz, but he makes up for it with sheer volume. If you’re not a gambler — maybe you’re betting big on upside from a couple of your top RBs or WRs — Ryan could be the choice for you.

Rounds 10-12

TARGET

Daniel Jones (NYG, 121 ADP) — This is the range where things start to get a little dicey for those who prefer waiting on a QB. On the surface, Jones has a lot to like about him. The Giants have a weaker defense and an underrated receiving corps with depth. Though he’s become a punchline, new OC Jason Garrett was critical in the development of Tony Romo and Dak Prescott. The Giants beefed up their offensive line with #4 overall pick OT Andrew Thomas (of course, LT Nate Solder opted out). Jones also runs a lot, and he had a surprising “gunslinger” mentality as a rookie, which bodes well for fantasy (see: Jameis Winston). On the downside, Jones has a brutal schedule, at least at the beginning of the season, with an opening-month run of games against the Steelers, 49ers, Bears, and Rams. Jones fits the profile of the kind of QB who succeeds in today’s landscape for fantasy purposes, but given he’s in his second year and the schedule is rough, those targeting Jones might want to invest in a good backup in case the first month of the season provides some bumps in the road.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Ben Roethlisberger (Pit, 139 ADP) — You might also consider Matthew Stafford if you’re looking for a veteran QB coming off a major injury, but Roethlisberger is two rounds cheaper, making him a better fit for this target range. The last time Roethlisberger was healthy in 2018, he led the NFL with 452 completions, 675 attempts, and 5129 passing yards. Things have changed since then, of course — Ben is coming off elbow surgery, and the Steelers’ defense is back among the NFL’s elite following the emergence of EDGE TJ Watt and the trade for S Minkah Fitzpatrick. They attempted just 510 passes last year… though it was with the awful Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges under center. Funnily enough, the Steelers’ neglecting to invest in a backup QB solution this off-season might suggest they feel good about Ben’s health, and the veteran will be throwing to a really intriguing group of receivers, which added second-round rookie Chase Claypool and TE Eric Ebron to the fold.

Baker Mayfield (Cle, 143 ADP) — Many are going to shake their heads at this, and we understand. Mayfield was a disaster last year when he was a top-5 QB in ADP, throwing 21 INT to just 22 TD. But coach Freddie Kitchens was in over his head while Mayfield played behind a bad offensive line, with an injured top WR in Odell Beckham (groin). This year, Mayfield has a new coach (Kevin Stefanski), a rebuilt offensive line, and a healthier receiving group that adds TE Austin Hooper to the fold. The concern is that Mayfield’s pass attempts will be way down — he averaged 33.4 last year, while Stefanski’s QB Kirk Cousins averaged 29.6 in Minnesota. But if Mayfield’s smaller role leads to fewer mistakes, he’s a very good bounce-back candidate.

Jared Goff (LAR, 144 ADP) — Consider Goff like a lower-case Matt Ryan. He’s boring, he doesn’t run, but he could attempt a ton of passes — he led the league with 626 attempts last year. The loss of Brandin Cooks might hurt, but the Rams upgraded in the backfield with Cam Akers and could have more explosiveness in the passing game from there. The big thing determining Goff’s fantasy value will be improvement from his offensive line, which went from one of the league’s best in 2018 to one of the worst in 2019. Positive regression from his TD rate — Goff’s 3.5% rate was 28th in the NFL last year — will help too. Unfortunately, he’s getting a little more expensive, going generally in the 11th round now.

Rounds 13+

NOTE: For more appealing deep options, check out our “Mr. Relevant” article.

TARGET

Joe Burrow (Cin, 149 ADP) — The #1 overall pick might be playing behind a problematic offensive line, but he has a potentially intriguing receiving corps if AJ Green can stay healthy. Tyler Boyd is an excellent slot receiver, John Ross is a speedster, and rookie Tee Higgins is a contested-catch specialist with good YAC ability. RBs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are good receivers, too. On top of everything else, Burrow averaged over 20 rushing YPG in each of his final two seasons at LSU — and remember, sacks count for negative rushing yardage in college.

ALSO CONSIDER

Ryan Tannehill (Ten, 168 ADP) — Tannehill was a veritable league-winner last season, owing in large part to his absolutely massive 7.7% TD pass rate and 9.6 yards per attempt. But the obvious regression for Tannehill is baked into his 12th-round ADP — remember, he was the QB3 in total fantasy points over his 10 starts from last season. We still have Tannehill averaging under 30 pass attempts per game, but his well-designed offense plays to his strengths, WR AJ Brown is a rising star, and Tannehill can run a bit (he had 4 rushing TD in 2019). We understand fantasy players thinking he might have been a flash in the pan, but his ADP accounts for that. He’s all upside as a 12th-round pick.

Cam Newton (NE, 153 ADP) — We know what the downside of Cam is — he’s not healthy, and he gets benched (or even released) in favor of Jarrett Stidham. But the upside? Well, we don’t want to say it’s infinite, but it’s damn high, which is what makes him a particularly appealing pick at this price. There’s no doubt Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have been studying up on the Ravens’ offensive attack with Lamar Jackson. Expect them to run some of the same concepts, adjusted for Cam’s strengths (his size) vs. Jackson’s (his speed). And with several key Patriot defenders opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pat offense might have to score a few more points than expected. There’s no downside to drafting a QB at this price. Expect Cam to get more expensive, but that’s because the appeal is so evident.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 176 ADP) — Garoppolo’s disastrous fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIV and the Niners’ penchant for being a run-first team have buried Jimmy G’s ADP, But it’s worth pointing out that the Niners ran super-hot last year, playing a ton from ahead, limiting Garoppolo’s second-half pass attempts (he averaged just 29 per game total last year). But in Kyle Shanahan’s 12 years as an offensive coordinator or head coach, his teams have been top-half in passing yards 10 times, and J my G benefits from having one of the best groups of YAC receivers ever assembled, even if Deebo Samuel (foot) has to miss some regular-season action. Even with the favorable game scripts, from Weeks 9 through 17, Garoppolo was 13th in FPG. His current ADP? QB21.

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